Google's Waymo expands to Atlanta to test self-driving cars

Google didn't provide specifics on the Atlanta rollout, set to provide another climate and conditions for testing.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
(Image: Google)

Google-owned Waymo on Monday announced it will expand its test program of self-driving minivans to Atlanta.

Waymo didn't detail when the rollout in Atlanta will begin or how many vehicles will be used for testing.

"Now that we have the world's first fully self-driving vehicles on public roads in AZ, we're looking to take our tech to more cities," Waymo tweeted.

According to The Verge, Google began mapping downtown Atlanta last week to have an accurate accurate 3D map for its self-driving fleet.

In 2017, Waymo began offering rides to residents in an early rider program in Phoenix, AZ. Waymo has given riders the ability to take the driver out of the driver seat for a fully autonomous experience.

Georgia is set to be the seventh state for Waymo's tests. Waymo has also tested its fleet in California, Texas, Washington, Nevada, Michigan, and Arizona.

"Now that we have the world's first fleet of fully self-driving cars on public roads, we're focused on taking our technology to a wide variety of cities and environments," a Waymo spokesperson told USA Today.

Testing its self-driving minivans gives Waymo the ability to gather data on where people want to ride, how users communicate with the tech-heavy vehicles, and what controls and data riders want to be able to see while inside.

In its previous tests, Waymo has used Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans outfitted with sensors. In April 2017, Waymo announced the addition of 500 Pacifica minivans, on top of 100 Pacifica minivans it already had.

"With our talented workforce and legacy of innovation, Georgia is at the forefront of the most dynamic, cutting edge industries like autonomous vehicles," Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said in a statement. "We are thrilled to welcome Waymo to our state because fully self-driving vehicle technology holds tremendous potential to improve road safety, and we are proud Georgia is paving the way for the future of transportation."

Gallery: Google's Waymo shows self-driving van with plenty of sensors

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